Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

been facrificed without a murmur, to the danger of injuring their college in the opinion of the world? To one of them who held an official firuation of infinite importance, it appears to me that this reasoning applies with particular force; and I am well convinced that his conduct, upon this occasion, very materially injured a fociety, which it would have been his best interest, as well as his duty, io. have ferved as much as he could.

The circumstance of only three members being found in so large a Society, to join in so neceffary a prosecution, is likewise a striking one toward itigmatising the Society in general with the epithet of Jacobinical. These three were the Rer. Messrs. Kog, Ron, and P---h; gentlemen, I understand, the goodness of whose lives, and the respectability of whose attainments, entitle their names to be recorded for their very honourable conduct upon this occasion; if only with a view to except them from the general cenfures, which has been cant upon

their College. We come now to the circumstance of Mefrs. Sheridan and Erskine, jun. Lord Stanley and the Hornby's, together with many likeaffeeted gentlemen from Ireland, being entered of this society immediately after the abovementioned declaration of its principle. This may, no doubt, have been the effect of accident, and I earnestly hope it was so : vet, at any rate, the circumstance is itriking; and, when we recollect in what manner the Jacobins hang together, and are, moreover, told that St. John's College, with a fociety nearly as numerous, did not, at this time, receive one member distinguished for fimilar sentiments, what shall we say ?

The heavy charge of the Temple, in which their prayers are offered, being frequently profaned with noisy jacobinical harangues, is, I am inforined, a very notorious fact; as well as that the prizes for the declamations have, for many years past, been adjudged to compositions abounding with democratic sentiments. A gentleman, who was present at the commemoration-dinner, fome years ago, assured me, that he was extremely offended by the indecency (in this fense) of an harangue from a Mr. P****; and that, upon conversing with an Under-graduate on the subject, he was told, that similar offences against decorum had frequently been committed—often to the dispa. ragement of distinguished merit of a contrary political persuasion, owing to the partiality of the judge, upon these occafions, to the democratic cause,

But I have already faid enough, and fhall only quote the con. clufion of the note :--

" A noble Lord, who lately designed his son to become a member of this fociety, upon hearing the character of its seniority, fent him to Christ-church, Oxford, The deterinination was certainly wise ; and every nobleman and gentleman, who duly blends the feelings of a parent with a juft sense of the circumstances of the times we live in, will think like his Lordship. The superiority of Oxford, in the proper confideration of rank and gentility, is almost proverbial; and even in Cambridge, such, in the true spirit of their principles, are

the

the encroachments made in - - College upon these juft claims, that yonig gentlemen of birth and fortune will even prefer Johnian boggifte to the lizar-notions of this society; while the superior care of St. John's College, in rewarding merit, and the superior affiduity of her tutors *d pcturers in the promotion of knowledge, will make parents gladly acquiesce in the preference.Thus is, in fact, evinced an asertion which has ofteu been made, and which we repeat with deep regret, {for we reinember the fair foundation in her mid-day fplendour,) that ST. JOHN's, with an endowment and character infinitely less adapted to the exercise of the most liberal policy, IS THE FIRST COLLEGE IN TRE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE."

Allow me to add, that the compliment paid to St. John's College is perfectly juft ; and that, notwithstanding an inelegance of manners, *hich is certainly too remarkable in the society, the pains which are -taken by the instructors to instil useful knowledge into the pupils committed to their care, and the affiduity with which those instructors introduce and recommend them in the world, when fuch pains bave proved effectual, are more commendably exemplary.

I remain, Sir, your conftant reader,

A FRIEND TO TRUTH.

[ocr errors]

To the Editor of the Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, SIR, IN the Anti- Jacobin Review for February last, a person, under the fenters have arowed principles unfavourable to Monarchy ?” Pray, does he not know that the principles of all Diflenters are democratical, 24 is not every democracy, to its dependents, a tyranny ? Was there not a time when the Prefbyterians, being in power, not only deprived Clergyunen of their benefices, but the laity also of their eftares?

Let this writer only read Dean Swift's arguments on this head, which are very applicable to the present times :-“ The Sectaries," fays the Dean, « atteinpted the three moft infernal actions which could poflibly enter into the hearts of men, forsaken by God--which were, the murder of a most pious King, the destruction of the Monarchy, and the extirpation of the Church.” Are these pot facts !-facts which ought never to be forgotten. "Then, query-whether the Diflenters have ever, in a folemn mainer, renounced any of those very principles upon which their predecessors then acted? And whether any man, who is a sincere friend to his country, can, after cool reflection, with to fee a power placed again in the hands of lo restless----lo ambitious, and so mercileis a faction, which, under the matk of hypocrify, veils its diabolical defigns ? April 13, 1799.

W.

[ocr errors]

Continued from vol: 1.) THE occasional writingsinimical to the constitution of our church

and ttate, found powerful and successful auxiliaries in certain periodical works of the times. The Monthly Review, infinitely iuperior tben to contemporary publications, had procured a very esa tensive circulation. The literary ability with which it was conducted ted many to overlook its tendency 10 invariable as to imply intent. The just and profound criticisms on great works of literature and science, gave a currency to partiał and fuperficial accounts of temporary productions. Pleased and instructed by their analysis and rcview of the works of a Stewart, a Reid, a Gibbon, a Gillies, and a Robertson, readers toe readily admitted their accounts of the ephemerous pamphlets, sermons, and tavern conf.lions of faith, of fectarian republicans: at the same time that the Montbly Review supported anti-hierarchical doctrines, it countenanced the extravagant ideas of change in the state, derived from the writings of the three eminent republicans whom we before mentioned, it celebrated the prailes of the most trifling pamphlets in favour of miveríal luttrage, as the most profound eifort of political philofop. y. It quoted the most plausible pisage's, gave a varnith to ablurd and pernicious do&trines, if for the fake of apparent impartiality it in the detail of its remarks mentioned defects, it mentioned thera flightly, and took care to loose fight of them in its general characters Sometimes the Reviewer would declare that a work of very hurttul principles, sentiments, and doctrines, * really did not meet his approbation, but would proceed to praise trongly particular parts, Teled those most animated, eloquent, and delusive, to as to lead his implicit rotaries to think highly of the book which he himself pretended to ditlike; and, at any rate, to stimulate their curiosity to peruse the work. If, on the other hand, a work made its appear. ance conducive to the preservation of the existing establishments, the Monthly Reviewer, intiead of examining the general scope of the do&trines and reasoning would try to find out fome particular defect, make that defect the principal subject of criticism, and 10 mislead superficial readers, (a numerous clais,) as to make them rest their judgement of the work on that detached part of it, and induce them to pronounce a verdiet on the most garbled evidence. Sometimes it would change its mode and 1peak favourably of compofitions of an opposite tendency, and unfavourably of those that maintained fimilar principles with itfelf. The praites, in thote inftauces, were generally managed in one or two modes, it was either bettuwed on some fecondary conftituent, for inttance, on the literary merit of a work intended to be political; or withbold the praile, it din se ted to the main object, until the circulation was to well ascer..

* As, for instance, Paine's Rights of Man, as we thall afterwards thew. REVIEWER

tained

cained as not to be affisted by the Reviewer's criticisin. When it blained writings of its own kidney, it was generally those that were pot likely to be very ferviceable to the cause. Thus lielding represents a higgler as giving information againit poor black George for one ait of poaching, and screening others, who were his good customers, by repeated and perlevering efforts againt the laws of their country

The Anahticai and Annual Register laboured in the same service with equal zcal, but much less addreis and ability. The Analytical Reviewer proceeded much more openly and dire&tly; every one could always ferwhat he aimed at. lle poured out the most unqualitied praite on the most extravagant, violent, and noxious writings. The Monthly made them read. The Analytical praised the poiton, the Monthly made it swallowed. The Analytical told us Paine's Rights of Man is one of the wiseft works that ever was written ; no, fay's the Monthly, that will not go dow'n ; there are faults in Paine's works, but many a charning patlage there is in it; fays the Anal; tieal let all men read laine's works; fays the Monthly we do not advise you to read the book, but you will be delighted if you do.

The seeds of Jacobinism fown by the heresiarchs, and carefully watered by the Reviewers, were now in blade, when their cultivati vñs were led to hope for their speedy maturity from the Frencb quodution,

This great change was, at the commencement, admired by many Britons who were bot Jacobins. They were delighted with the overthrow of a stian, fo contrary to that liberty which they enjoyed under their own institution, looking on it as a triumph of freedom urer Havety in general, without attending to its appropriate features; inany benevolent men rejoiced in the belief that another great nation was in the way to that happiness which they experienced under this nation, Some men of more profound initigation taw that the intellectual, moral, and religious principles, which snarked the farlieft itages of the French Revolution, were totally ditferent from those prevalent in England. They allowed that the old government of France was, in many respects, bad; but by no means concluded from therce that every change muti be good. In fact, they faw the contrary exemplified in the effects, as well as the principles, of the change in question. Candour nuti allow t'at many men, even of contiderable talenti, approved of the French revolution without being influenced by bad motives ; It is, howerer, more ealy to discuts the force or weakness of reasons than to investigate, at leait to afcertain, the rectitude or pravity of motives. These drew their conclusions from very partial, and come from hypothetical premises. And, therefore, turprizing that their judgement proved uroneous. Leading men in opposition conceived that becaule the French revolution was a change from that lyttem, under whicla 10 expenfive and bloody wars had been carried on again this country, one efect of it would be permanent peace. Although this was the opinion of a man of great ingenuity, it was not the inference of

Hildom,

wisdom, reatoning from her only sure guide in matter of practice", conduit, and experience. Had he recollected history, he muti have been convinced that freedom, instead of diminishing, increates the warlike fpirit. Another cauti', which made the great man in queftion, his parliamentary tollowers, and political votaries, friendly to the revolution of France, was that they confidered it as fimilar to the revolution of England. This was an opinion which therred a very fuperficial know ledge of the littory, circumtiances, and principles, (I will not prefume to lay of both, bus) of that of France.

Certain writers approved highly of the French revolution, not because they conceived it likely to produce such a government as that of Britain ; that was not the object which they fought. Their writings, for many years, thewed that what they held up as the model of political perfection, bore no resemblance to this confiitution. They had attacked its eltablishments, they had attacked its principles, they had taken their plans of polity from their own vilionary fancies, and not from experience. They conceived that the French doctrines coincided with their own ideas on tbi origin of civil and religions liberiy, aut ibi piri principks of gorrnment. They opened in, prailes of the new order of things. From them and their votaries, whether preachers, pamphleteers, club haranguers, or book-makers, came the first lytiematic exertions in favour of the French revolution. Their own Reviewers most readily and ftrongly praised their various literary efforts, however frivolous. Landare parati fi rectum, &c. It was not to much the supposed attainment of liberty that tbry chiefly celebrated. It was the confifcation of property, the annihilation of nobility ; robbery of the clergy, and de-batement of royalty. These were the objects which framed the principal thenies of THEIR applaufi'. They pretended to commend the change in France, on account of its resemblance to the revolution in England, although the subjects of their most frequent, longest, and loudest praises were diametrically opposite to any of the regulit tions of loss. As in England, property bad not been confiscated, nobility had not been destroyed; the clergy had not been plundered, and royalty had not been debafed. The class which I am now defcribing, appears to have contidered the French revolution much more profoundly than its parliamentary champions. It appeared, from the particular objects of their praise, that they saw in its principles and early effects, its probable consequences. The parliamentary orators, prailed it vaguely and generally for being like the revolution of England. The heresiarchical supporters praifed it for that which was not like our revolution, nor like any government, even the most democratical of antiquity. Constitutional patriotic men, might take the ground of thofe orators merely from milapprehending the cale. No one could concur with Price and. Priestley, without the adoption of principles totally unconftitutional, and, consequently, unpatriotic.

The votaries of the leading diffenters, and other republicans, either employed old clubs, or formed new, for the dilemination of their favourite notions. The pulpits and the taverns were jointly de scenes of declamation in favour of the “ Rights of Man."

« ForrigeFortsett »